Success no matter what you define it as is something we all desire. We all want to feel like we are moving our lives forward, that we are living the life we have always imagined.
Why then is this kind of success elusive?
From my ongoing and relentless research, I have come to realize that success begins with some fundamentals. There are really no new secrets to success. What obtains rather are just fundamentals that have modern applications or expansion of these fundamentals. Nonetheless, everything builds on these fundamentals if you are seeking upward mobility in life.
While I do not claim to have an authoritative guide to living a successful life, I’m strongly convinced that if you start with these 7 fundamentals, your life will be different five to ten years from now.
I sense you re thinking,”5-10 years? I want to be successful now”.
Not to worry, I’m on your side here. Sincerely, I do not believe there is a time sequence to transforming your life or achieving your dreams because it is usually a combination of many factors – You, providence and other things but I do believe that true and enduring success takes time. Building your life on a foundation that will endure requires you dig a lot of depth.
How then do you dig the depth that will ensure you have a solid life and guarantee your upward mobility? Explore these seven fundamentals:
1. Develop Character
Your success cannot endure if your character is faulty. You can tell what your character is by what you will do if you knew you wouldn’t be found out. We can measure it fairly accurately by what you do and not what you intend to do.
Another definition of character is integrity. Integrity is social capital. It starts with keeping our promises to ourselves and then keeping our promises to others. It is exerting to develop but worthwhile in the long run. It is the only true source of happiness and the time-tested, proven blueprint for success. Any other thing is blind deception.
2. Find your Purpose and Passion
We never begin to truly live until we have identified with a “why” that is bigger than us and “what” that fuels our drive. Your existence is bigger than fulfilling society’s expectations of you.
Your life should be more eventful than just living for the next pay check.
You deserve to be doing something that aligns with your true essence, a work that taps into your intrinsic motivation and potential. Confucius advised,”Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Sounds idealistic? But its true.
3. Develop a Great Mind.
We are in the age of the mind. The quality of a man’s mind is what makes people pay attention to him. A great life is a product of great thoughts. To develop a great mind, you must cultivate your mind with noble, pure and inspiring ideas.
To change your life, you must be willing to the hard work of changing your thinking. You must rub minds with people better, knowledgeable, virtuous, advanced than you are. Iron sharpens iron and the best way to develop a great mind is through deep and wide reading. Confucius said,”No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”
Our minds are like muscles, they can get tougher, stronger, more agile and nimble. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. “Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.” Said Aldous Huxley.
4. Develop a Strong Work Ethic
King Solomon observed that the desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labour (Prov21:25). Farrah Gray was thoughtful when he said, “You can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage ethic.” The surest route to success is still good old hard work. Away with the mindset that seeks to get a lot for the barest input of labour. Be industrious. Be economically productive. Be useful. Strongly commit to excellence. It determines the quality of your life.
5. Maximize Opportunity
The greatest failure in life is to be unprepared for your opportunities. Your opportunities will always come and most times unannounced. But will they find you prepared? Dr. Paul Enenche said, “What distinguishes people in life is the management of opportunities.”
Sometimes opportunity can come disguised in the cloak of work, pain, problems, challenges and trials. That is why people sometimes run away from opportunity or miss it. You have no excuses and Ralph Waldo Emerson drives it home “No great man ever complains of want of opportunity”. Some find opportunity, some create opportunity. Just ensure you are in either category.
6. Enlarge and Sharpen your Skills
You are always a few skills away from your desired income. The gap between what you are currently earning and your income potential is your skill set. When you expand your skill set and you are able to market it (a major skill in itself), your income grows automatically.
The more you can do and do well, the better you get paid. So, have a personal development plan (PDP) for yourself every year and organize your time to develop the skills you have identified to be necessary for your progress.
7. Seek Contribution
Your life is not about you. Always remember Winston Churchill’s words, “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.” I agree with Benjamin Franklin that, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.” Seek to leave the world a better place than you met it, starting from where you are now. Live by the GEMSTONE creed, “Be a solution provider and not a part of the problem to be solved.”
These are the fundamentals I’m striving daily to master both in my understanding and application of them. Mastering them is tough but I’m hanging in there. I have had my failures in living by them and in such moments, I let Stephen Covey’s confession in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People prod me,”I personally struggle with much of what I have shared in this book. But the struggle is worthwhile and fulfilling. It gives meaning to my life and enables me to love, to serve and to try again.”
To summarize again the 7 fundamentals for an upwardly mobile life:
1. Develop Character
2. Find your purpose and passion
3. Develop a great mind
4. Develop a strong work ethic
5. Maximize opportunities
6. Enlarge and sharpen your skills
7. Seek contribution
These fundamentals are obvious but they are peculiar because not everyone is living by them. I believe it will make a world of difference for you when you consistently live by them.
To your success
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I’m deeply committed to sharing ideas and strategies that will help you experience personal transformation and productivity.
About Layi Adeyemi
Layi is a consummate speaker, author, trainer and peak performance coach. As a management consultant, he is currently involved in helping various SMEs realize their full potential through strategy formulation for the development of their human resources and in achieving business growth.